Shamrock Roundup: Celtics deal with injuries as regular season nears end
The Celtics are two games above the .500 threshold and are slumping hard, losing eight of their last 11 games. That’s a 27 percent win rate. Without getting healthy, the Celtics look doubtful to win a playoff series even in the first round.
Kevin Garnett sat out of Friday’s game against Cleveland to doctor an inflammation in his left leg. Paul Pierce was also out with a sore left ankle. And with over three minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, Avery Bradley gave fans a scare when he was elbowed in the collarbone. Kyrie Irving was driving to the basket and then unintentionally elbowed Bradley in the neck.
Bradley left the court with trainer Ed Lacerte nursing his left shoulder. He later came back to the bench but didn’t see anymore playing time.
“It hurts, but I’ll be fine,” Bradley said after the game. “I get injured all the time, I’ll be alright.”
Cleveland broke its 10-game losing streak with a 97-91 win over the Celtics Friday night. Power forward Tristan Thompson had a monstrous game. He scored 29 points, made all nine of his free throws and came up with 17 rebounds. The game was a bit of an anomaly for Thompson, who scored a combined 25 points in his last three games.
The silver lining in this past week is that the Celtics have clinched a playoff spot. That mileston came on Wednesday, when the Celtics beat the Pistons, 98-93. There’s some breathing room to be had, but fans can’t feel great about the status quo.
Winning will fix everything, but first, the Celtics need to get back some momentum come playoff time.
“No matter who we play, we’re going to play a tough team.” Doc Rivers said. “It’s going to be New York, Indiana, or Miami. There are no cakewalks for us. It’s going to be hard.”
Rivers also said that both Garnett and Pierce could return as soon as Sunday when they play Washington. With just six games left on the Celtics’ schedule, every game will be important. One game that fans definitely don’t want to miss will be another Heat-Celtics matchup as Boston travels to Miami on April 12.